Bankers Too Big To Jail

• Below: Eric Holder testifies that some corporations may be too big to prosecute.

• As alluded to above, the so-called "Holder memo" written during his earlier tenure at DOJ allows wiggle room for corporate execs to dodge prosecution if that might cause "collateral consequences" to the national or world economy.

• Below: Eric Holder with NBC's Pete Williams (11.2013) in a Bill Moyers & Company video (10.4.14). White-collar criminologist Bill Black, author of "The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One," calls the DOJ's inaction "the greatest strategic failure in the history of the Department of Justice."

• Below: President Robert Weissman of watchdog group Public Citizen describes the poor track record of Eric Holder's DOJ regarding criminal prosecutions for corporate crimes.

• "(Eric Holder's) tenure has proven unhelpful to the five million victims of mortgage abuses in the US." —David Dayen, the guardian.com

• Below: Watch investigative journalist Matt Taibbi's reporting on the massive rip-off by white collar criminals "no longer appropriate for jail."

• “Friends and former colleagues ... say it would be no surprise if (Holder) returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients." —NPR

• "A large chunk of Covington & Burling’s corporate clients are mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of AmericaLanny Breuer, who ran the criminal division for Holder’s Justice Department, already returned to work there." —NPR

• "The Wall Street Journal found that the Justice Department only collects around 25% of the fines they impose ... The DoJ’s Inspector General ... found that DoJ deprioritized mortgage fraud, making it the 'lowest-ranked criminal threat' from 2009-2011."—David Dayen, the guardian.com

• Amy Goodman (host of "Democracy Now"): "Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?"

 Matt Taibbi: "Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. And what’s interesting about this is that you can see a progression. If you go back to the savings and loan crisis in the late '80s, which was an enormous fraud problem, but it paled in comparison to the subprime mortgage crisis, we put about 800 people in jail during ... that crisis. You fast-forward 10 or 15 years to the accounting scandals, like Enron and Adelphia and Tyco, we went after the heads of some of those companies. It wasn't as vigorous as the S&L prosecutions, but we at least did it. ... We’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal."

Department of Whining:
"
One would be hard put to identify an Attorney General who so explicitly turned the Justice Department into a political weapon ... The financial settlements that Holder Justice squeezed out of major banks are Exhibit A. Massive fines were imposed on J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America explicitly as punishment for the 2008 financial crisis. No matter how unprovable the charges, the banks settled because they couldn't endure the continuing political risk of even more severe punishment. President Obama bragged about punishing financial institutions throughout his 2012 re-election campaign." —Wall Street Journal editorial, September 2014

• Latest news: JPMorgan whistleblower featured in new Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. Watch them interviewed by Chris Hayes on 11.10.14 below:

Is Flying Fun Yet?

 john grimes cartoon grimescartoons.com fizzdom.com

• "We'll be boarding in about five airline minutes." —comedian David Steinberg (thx Leah Garchik)

• "If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.” —Southwest flight attendant

• Watch mesmerizing world air traffic animation (Zurich School of Applied Sciences / Airboyd): 

• Learn (someone's) airline lingo (Reader's Digest):

> Blue juice: Water in the toilet 
Crotch watch: Seat belt check
> Crumb crunchers: Kids 
Deadheading: Airline employee flying as a passenger on company business
> Gate lice: People clustering at gate right before boarding 
> George: Autopilot
Landing lips: Applying lipstick before landing
> Pax: Passengers
> Spinners: Late-boarding passengers without seat assignments who spin around looking for seats
> Two-for-once special: Bumping once on first contact, then landing smoothly
> Working the village: Attendants working in coach

• Watch and listen to this U.S. air traffic animation (NASA/Airboyd):

• Factoids (Tristan Rayner, techly.com):

> “If the oxygen masks drop down, you only have about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down ... more than enough time for the pilot to take us to a lower altitude where you can breathe normally.” —@jezalenko

> "Planes get hit by lightning (almost once a year) ... The last crash attributed to lightning was in 1967." —Lightning Technologies

> “Pilots don’t get the same meal and can’t share in case one makes them sick (from food poisoning).” –@Wrestlingisgood

> “When a plane is landing at night, they dim the interior lights in case you need to evacuate upon landing … your eyes are already adjusted to the darkness so you’ll be able to see better once outside the plane.” —@bonestamp

> “The air you breathe on an airplane is ... clean air from the atmosphere (taken in through the engines) compressed to a normal atmospheric pressure, and fed through a complicated heating/cooling system. That’s why planes have very dry air – there’s no moisture in the air at nine kilometres above sea level, but modern planes try to add moisture via humidifiers ... The air leaves the airplane via a small hole in the back of the fuselage.” –@virgadays

• "Today’s planes are ... pressurized so you only feel like you’re about 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level ... numb your taste buds, making food taste blander ... Salty and sweet tastes are significantly impaired in the air. Bitter and umami (savory) tastes survive better." —Julie Beck, “Why Airline Food is So Bad,” Atlantic

• "If black boxes survive air crashes, why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?" —George Carlin

• Breaking News: "United flight diverted after passengers fight over legroom"

  "A  woman and a man  — both seated in the “Economy Plus” section of the aircraft, which already comes with extra legroom — were  at each other’s throats because the man attached a “knee defender” device to his seat , preventing the woman in front from reclining." —Abby Phillip,  Washington Post 

"A woman and a man — both seated in the “Economy Plus” section of the aircraft, which already comes with extra legroom — were at each other’s throats because the man attached a “knee defender” device to his seat, preventing the woman in front from reclining." —Abby Phillip, Washington Post 

• Final factoids (Reader's Digest):

> If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight. The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon. —Jerry Johnson, pilot

> The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing. The bumpiest place is in the back.

> You'll never hear, "One of our engines just failed. What they’ll say instead: 'One of our engines is indicating improperly.' "

> For most people who get sick after air traveling, it's not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch.

• Laugh with comedian Brian Regan:

Banksy's Art Will Provoke You

 Banksy's art will provoke you fizzdom.com john grimes graffiti political satire

• Banksy is the pseudonym for the anti-commercial and highly-secretive British artist and activist whose satirical street graffiti and mashups have appeared sporadically in England, New York, Los Angeles (placing a Gitmo-prisoner replica at Disneyland) and the West Bank. 

• Below: Watch and listen to "Sirens of the Lambs" heading for slaughter from Banksy's 2013 stay in New York City.

• Below: Banksy art in the West Bank:

• Below: Banksy's edgy opening couch gag for a 2010 Simpsons episode, depicting beyond-the-pale sweatshops churning out animation cels and merchandise. "According to Banksy, the storyboard ‘led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walkout by the (Korean) animation department.’ Executive director Al Jean jokingly said, ‘This is what you get when you outsource.’ "

• Below: Banksy added the Nazi officer to the $50 scenic print, then secretly returned it to the NYC Housing Works thrift store. After Banksy identified himself online as the embellisher, the store reportedly auctioned the painting for $615,000. 

nazi in beautiful nature scene - nyc nonprofit shop.png

• Below: Banksy "unmasked" in Jamaica according to dailymail.co.uk, which reports he was born in 1974 and that "a network of myths has grown up around him. That his real name is Robin Banks. That he used to be a butcher ... that Banksy is actually a collective of artists and doesn't exist at all."

• Below: For really curious fans, watch this 10-minute tour of Banksy's show at his hometown Bristol (England) Museum. We love the bizarre animatronic dioramas featuring a cosmetics-testing bunny, chirping McNuggets chicks and swimming fish sticks. Overlook the so-so production values. Suggest full screen for details.  

• “Known for his contempt for the government in labelling graffiti as vandalism … Banksy does not sell photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti."

 • Banksy's first film, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," billed as "the world's first street art disaster movie," was nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

• Banksy was named “Person of the Year” at the 2014 Webby Awards for the online presentation of his month-long “Better Out Than In” performance in New York in October 2013 — creating a surprising new piece of public art each day for a month.  

• Animated Banksy art at top by Fizzdom. Additional sources: wikipedia; artist Patrick Mclynn who turned us on to Banksy years ago.

Hilarious Headlines from The Onion

 TheOnion.com
theonion logo.png

“Fat Kid Took Two”

 

“The Internet Went Down For Three Hours This Morning, Plunging The Nation Into Productivity”

 

"Ted Cruz’s Wife Shudders After Noticing 
Twin Beds Pushed Together"

 

“Man Doesn’t Need To Have Fun To Drink”

 

“Breakup Rescheduled To End Of Lease”

 

Video: "New Wearable Feedbags
Let Americans Eat More, Move Less


 

“Office Smelled Like Fire For 3 Hopeful Seconds”

 

“Novel Dedicated To Parents 
As If That Could Begin To Make Amends” 

 

“Congress Takes Group of Schoolchildren Hostage”

 

Video: "New Facebook Feature Scans Profile
To Pinpoint Exactly When Things Went Wrong"


“Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex”

 

“Wife Lovingly Preparing Meal With Knife
That Will One Day Be State’s Exhibit A”

 

“Shirtless Biden Washes Trans Am In White House Driveway”

 TheOnion.com

TheOnion.com

“Study Finds Every Style of Parenting
Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults”

Roz Chast is a Dutiful Daughter

 fizzdom.com new yorker cartoonist roz chaste is a dutiful daughter death hospice assisted living neurotic hospice

"Mostly people are glad that I've said it was really hard, and really messy. I wanted to write about the entire experience, including the parts that were gross, and funny, and including my mixed feelings about my parents. I didn't want to write with a fake, rosy glow."  — Roz Chast

• "As they inched into their late 90s, (Chast) arranged for round-the-clock care. And she kept a horrified eye on their dwindling savings, all the while thinking: 'There goes my inheritance. It's a terrible, terrible thing and you look at yourself in the mirror and think: I'm a worm. I'm a lowly, shitty, crappy, horrible worm to be thinking about this.' " —  Roz Chast quoted by Emma BrockesTheGuardian.com

art-chast-cashmere story.png

• "Chast had done right by them, but she was still sick with regret after they were gone. 'Should I have taken them into my house? Should I have seen them more? Why didn't I love them more? You know? Am I a disgusting person?' " — Roz Chast quoted by Emma BrockesTheGuardian.com

Selected Reviews:

• “Roz Chast squeezes more existential pain out of baffled people in cheap clothing sitting around ... in crummy apartments than Dostoevsky got out of all of Russia’s dark despair. This is a great book in the annals of human suffering, cleverly disguised as fun.” — satirist Bruce McCall

• “A tour de force of dark humor and illuminating pathos about her parents’ final years as only this quirky genius of pen and ink could construe them.” —  Elle

• “Very, very, very funny, in a way that a straight-out memoir about the death of one’s elderly parents probably would not be.” — New York Times

Chast's photo in animation at top by her husband: “Bill Franzen is a humor writer who began his career in the mail room of The New Yorker. His book, Hearing From Wayne — a collection of short stories, most of them reprinted from Gentlemen’s Quarterly, National Lampoon and The New Yorker — was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “carefully crafted studies in whimsey and moments of truth....” — ridgefieldauthors.wikispaces.com

• Watch 5-minute excerpt of Roz Chast interview by New Yorker Editor David Remnick (full 15-minute version at www.hulu.com/watch/641493 )

• Chast's memoir reminds us of Deborah Hoffmann and Frances Reid's revolutionary film, Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, about Deborah's mother's battle with Alzheimer's. Deborah's father Banesh, who died earlier, was an associate of Albert Einstein's. 

• The 1994 PBS/POV doc, an Oscar finalist and winner of a Peabody and many other awards, was the first to address the challenges of a family member with Alzheimer's using a combination of humor with appreciation for the victim's residual-yet-declining humanity

• “The taboo that I broke was that, without being disrespectful to my mother … I admitted that this is a funny situation … in any other situation, everybody would laugh … (Alzheihmer's sufferers) are really doing very crazy, insane things, and it’s okay to see the humor in it … even my mother sees the humor in it … once I allowed myself to ease up and see the humor, my mother felt a lot better. She enjoyed laughing about it.” — Deborah Hoffmann

• "She is the ultimate of living in the moment," Hoffmann says proudly of her mother in the film's closing monologue. "She's sort of the ultimate enlightened person."

• "This is the best film about Alzheimer's disease that I've seen, and I've seen quite a few... film critic Gene Siskel

 • "Unflinchingly honest...a film that will give hope to Alzheimer's caregivers as well as early-stage Alzheimer's patients." — Marcia Freedman, American Society on Aging

• Watch an 8-minute excerpt of Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter below:

Satirical Genius of Pawel Kuczynski

  Above  : Watch   11 illustrations   cycle through ©Pawel Kuczynski

Above: Watch 11 illustrations cycle through ©Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski was born on August 12, 1976 in Szczecin, Poland.

• Focusing on satirical illustration since 2004, Kuczynski's work sharply articulates social, political and economic injustice.

• He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan (Poland) with a specialization in graphics (drawing) and has received over 100 prizes and distinctions for his satirical art.

  Pawel Kuczynski  animated by  fizzdom

Pawel Kuczynski animated by fizzdom

 Animation of  Kuczynski  illustration:  Made by abvh  - http://madebyabvh.tumblr.com/

Animation of Kuczynski illustration: Made by abvh - http://madebyabvh.tumblr.com/

 • "Pawel Kuczynski captures the real in a satirical mode. His work forces us, in a most curious way, to stop and consider consequences of our actions and the credence we give to political decisions." — voiceseducation.org

pawel5-bottle and hook.jpg

More Pawel Kuczynski illustrations at:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pawel-Kuczynski/222849284410325
and
http://www.pawelkuczynski.com/index.php

• Affordable prints at:
http://www.pictorem.com/collectioncat.asp?author=Pawel+Kuczynski

John Oliver Mansplains Hobby Lobby

 supreme court ruth bader ginsberg hobby lobby law contraception mansplain birth control choice women's rights corporations john oliver catholic religion      

Above: Dissent from Ruth Bader Ginsberg in video from Internet Archive's TV News Archive http://archive.org/tv

• Update (7.2.14): "Supreme Court Broadens Hobby Lobby Ruling to All Forms of Birth Control: Less than a day after the United States Supreme Court issued its divisive ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, it has already begun to toss aside the supposedly narrow interpretation of the decision. On Tuesday, the Supremes ordered lower courts to rehear any cases where companies had sought to deny coverage for any type of contraception, not just the specific types Hobby Lobby was opposed to." — Patrick Caldwell, motherjones.com

• "For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a for-profit corporation can refuse to comply with a general government mandate because doing so would violate the corporation's asserted religious beliefs. By a 5-4 vote, the court struck an important part of President Obama's health care law — the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control — because it conflicted with a corporation owners' religious beliefs ... (of the) Hobby Lobby corporation, a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores that employs 16,000 people. Its owners object to two forms of birth control — IUDs and morning-after pills — because they consider those to be an early form of abortion." — npr.org

• "The Affordable Care Act already includes special arrangements for houses of worship and religious non-profits, like schools and hospitals. Houses of worship are completely exempted. Employees of religious non-profits receive their birth control coverage directly from their insurance company. The non-profit employer is not required to pay or be involved in any way. Today’s cases weren’t about those types of religious organizations. They were about privately owned, closely held, for-profit corporations. Today, the Court ruled that such corporations have religious rights under federal statute, just as individuals do. Corporations are not people. Corporations cannot have religious views. And this decision sends us in a dangerous direction." — Social justice attorney Sandra Fluke

• “The Court’s decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn conform to an established pattern for the Roberts Court. It’s generally a two-step process: in confronting a politically charged issue, the court first decides a case in a “narrow” way, but then uses that decision as a precedent to move in a more dramatic, conservative direction in a subsequent case.” — Jeffrey Toobin, newyorker.com

• "There are six Roman Catholics currently serving on the court (Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas) and three Jews (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagen)." — Chris Weigant, chrisweigant.com via huffpost

Jon Stewart, Iraq & Permanent Bases

 See below for enlarged map with details.

See below for enlarged map with details.

• Below: Dick Cheney was surprisingly rational in this 4.15.94 interview, revealing why it wouldn't have made sense to overthrow Saddam Hussein and occupy Iraq after George H. W. Bush's 1991 Gulf War 1 victory forced Hussein's troops out of Kuwait. Cheney was Bush's Secretary of Defense, 1989-1993.

• In 2002 and 2003, ignoring his own 1994 advice above, Vice President Cheney and other neo-cons of the secretive Project for the New American Century persuaded President George W. Bush to orchestrate the 2003 invasion of Iraq with the intention of "permanent" (or at least long-term) occupation. The 2007 Fizzdom graphic below reviews some of the evidence for a string of 5 to 6 permanent bases. Note the juxtaposition of oil fields (yellow) and new bases (long push-pins), conveniently walling off Iran. Alas, reality has intervened and the U.S. is now teaming with axis-of-evil member Iran to help save Baghdad. 

• Above: Neo-con Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz testifies to Congress just prior to the 2003 invasion about the minimal effort and expense required to invade and occupy Iraq — a country "that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." 

 fizzdom.com Bush administration plans for long-term occupation of Iraq oil bases cheney petraeus pace james baker rumsfeld

• Below: Paul Wolfowitz's early 2003 testimony to Congress continues, stating that the Iraqis "will greet us as liberators" after the invasion. Once more, wildly off the mark.

Eric Cantor's Shocking Shellacking

 fizzdom.com house gop majority leader primary eric cantor john boehner republicans tea party david brat immigration

• Watch Rep. Eric Cantor's flip-flop on immigration reform above: One version for Washington and another for his home district. (See flyer on this page below.)

• The irony of Cantor's support for the Tea Party calling them mainstream in the video above.

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Cantor remains the only non-Christian member of the otherwise all-white, all-Christian, GOP House caucus. 

• Above is an insane Eric Cantor campaign ad in late April attempting to define far-righty David Brat as a liberal.

• Humorist Andy Borowitz's quote in the animation at the top is from his imagined concession speech by Eric Cantor. Read his very funny feature at http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/06/virginians-choose-even-bigger-tool.html

 

Snowden Mans Up, Stays Put

 fizzdom.com john grimes edward snowden mans up stays home secretary of state john kerry nsa daniel ellsberg traitor patriot constitution russia moscow espionage act glenn greenwald judge richard leon

• Commemorating the June 5th anniversary of first publication of NSA documents by Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian U.S. (and later, Washington Post and New York Times) leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

• Edward Snowden above outlines the substantial changes his leaks are precipitating in NSA surveillance programs, practices and public discourse.

• The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was jointly awarded to The Washington Post and The Guardian U.S. for their "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency."

George Polk Awards for Journalism in 2013 for national security reporting were presented to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, and to The Washington Post's Barton Gellman.

Daniel Ellsberg uses his experience with the Pentagon Papers to explain above why Edward Snowden would not receive a fair trial in the U.S. under the Espionage Act

Journalist Glenn Greenwald explains the difference between private companies and the government retaining all your personal data and communications in the video above. 

• Above Daniel Ellsberg makes a strong case why it is necessary for Edward Snowden to be out of the U.S. 

Breaking story! Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov’t snooping http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/vodafone-report-shows-extent-of-govt-snooping/2014/06/06/7a01a9ba-ed5c-11e3-8a8a-e17c08f80871_story.html?hpid=z3

• "Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp., AOL Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are pushing for tighter controls over electronic espionage — fearing that eavesdropping threatens the technology industry’s financial livelihood." (from W.Post link above)

Links to important videos:

•See why U.S. District Judge Richard Leon calls the bulk collection NSA surveillance program "almost Orwellian" and probably unconstitutional. https://archive.org/details/KPIX_20131217_150000_CBS_This_Morning#start/210/end/240

Edward Snowden explains the "pattern of life" the NSA can obtain from a targeted cell phone: https://archive.org/details/KNTV_20140529_050000_Inside_the_Mind_of_Edward_Snowden_An_NBC_News_Exclusive#start/1416.5/end/1476.5

• See the entire Edward Snowden interview with NBC's Brian Williams, at the Internet Archive's TV News Archive where you can edit and share your own clips: http://archive.org/details/KNTV_20140529_050000_Inside_the_Mind_of_Edward_Snowden_An_NBC_News_Exclusive

• Link to the Internet Archive's post commemorating the anniversary of the first NSA surveillance report by Glenn Greenwald. Avid NSA followers can check out the Archive's NSA-issues TV News Quote Library for video clips and links cataloging the history of the NSA surveillance issues featuring Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, Barton Gellman, James Clapper, Keith Alexander, President Obama — all the key people involved in the revelations.

http://blog.archive.org/2014/06/06/1-year-later-nsa-revelations-debate-and-dire-prospects/

The Internet Archive has the largest and most comprehensive video library documenting reports, hearings and revelations on the NSA surveillance programs.